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Winter storms challenge everyone driving on Maryland roads

Most Marylanders had never heard the word: bombogenesis, also called explosive cyclogenesis or simply bomb cyclone. At the time of this writing on January 5, the entire East Coast is experiencing the aftereffects of this gigantic, brutal storm over the Atlantic that has wreaked havoc on parts of our state. 

Extreme weather 

Simply put, a bomb cyclone happens when a rotating storm has a fast, extreme drop in atmospheric pressure that explosively strengthens it. Some experts, however, are just calling this a bad nor’easter.

However, this is no joke for Maryland. According to CBS Baltimore

  • The storm brought “snow, ice, strong winds and rough surf …”
  • Most state counties have weather warnings, including a blizzard warning on the Eastern Shore.
  • Maryland State Police reported multiple motor vehicle accidents and disabled cars, especially on the Eastern Shore and in southern Maryland.
  • Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties, anticipating snow.
  • Ocean city experienced “whiteout conditions.” 

After the first storm, severe Arctic air will descend on the region. 

Legal duties of drivers 

No matter the conditions, any driver on Maryland roads has the legal duty to drive reasonably safely to prevent harm to others. In extreme conditions, this might even mean staying home if government officials are recommending it. On the road, reasonable driving practices in a winter storm that brings ice, snow, fog, reduced visibility and wind are different driving practices than usual. 

For example, under these conditions, people must slow down and stay farther behind the vehicles in front of them. More time and space is needed to stop a vehicle on ice. Drivers must keep their windows clear, their windshield fluid full, and their wipers and defrosters in good operating condition. 

More than ever, drivers in blizzard or other hazardous wintry conditions must not drive after drinking or when distracted by texting. If anything, the need to react to an emergency is heightened and must not be unreasonably impaired. 

Anyone who is hurt in a winter accident in Maryland should seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after getting medical attention.

 

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